“To forgive is wisdom, to forget is genius. And easier. Because it's true. It's a new world every heart beat.”
“Nothing like poetry when you lie awake at night. It keeps the old brain limber. It washes away the mud and sand that keeps on blocking up the bends.
Like waves to make the pebbles dance on my old floors. And turn them into rubies and jacinths; or at any rate, good imitations.”
“Why,' I said, quite surprised by my own eloquence in inventing all this stuff, 'it happens every day. The old old story. Boys and girls fall in love, that is, they are driven mad and go blind and deaf and see each other not as human animals with comic noses and bandy legs and voices like frogs, but as angels so full of shining goodness that like hollow turnips with candles put into them, they seem miracles of beauty. And the next minute the candles shoot out sparks and burn their eyes. And they seem to each other like devils, full of spite and cruelty. And they will drive each other mad unless they have grown some imagination. Even enough to laugh.”
“Plantie is a very strong Protestant, that is to say, he's against all churches, especially the Protestant: and he thinks a lot of Buddha, Karma and Confucius. He is also a bit of an anarchist and three or four years ago he took up Einstein and vitamins.”
“I will admit that I wanted to shout for standing on the top of a scaffold in front of a good new wall always goes to my head. It is a sensation something between that of an angel let out of his cage into a new sky and a drunkard turned loose in a royal cellar.
And after all, what nobler elevation could you find in this world than the scaffold of a wall painter? No admiral on the bridge of a new battleship designed by the old navy, could feel more pleased with himself than Gulley, on two planks, forty feet above dirt level, with his palette table beside him, his brush in his hand, and the draught blowing up his trousers; cleared for action.”
“It was as dark as the inside of a cabinet minister.”
“B-but, Mr Jimson, I w-want to be an artist.'
'Of course you do,' I said, 'everybody does once. But they get over it, thank God, like the measles and the chickenpox. Go home and go to bed and take some hot lemonade and put on three blankets and sweat it out.'
'But Mr J-Jimson, there must be artists.'
'Yes, and lunatics and lepers, but why go and live in an asylum before you're sent for? If you find life a bit dull at home,' I said, 'and want to amuse yourself, put a stick of dynamite in the kitchen fire, or shoot a policeman. Volunteer for a test pilot, or dive off Tower Bridge with five bob's worth of roman candles in each pocket. You'd get twice the fun at about one-tenth of the risk.”
“Girl going past clinging to a young man's arm. Putting up her face like a duck to the moon. Drinking joy. Green in her eyes. Spinal curvature. No chin, mouth like a frog. Young man like a pug. Gazing down at his sweetie with the face of a saint reading the works of God. Hold on, maiden, you've got him. He's your boy. Look out, Puggy, that isn't a maiden you see before you, it's a work of imagination. Nail him, girlie. Nail him to the contract. Fly laddie, fly off with your darling vision before she turns into a frow, who spends all her life thinking of what the neighbours think.”
“They can't give you all that, Mr Jimson,' said Walter, who was upset. 'It wouldn't be right. What would they give you seven years for?'
'Being Gulley Jimson,' I said, 'and getting away with it.”
“You take a straight tip from the stable, Cokey, if you must hate, hate the government or the people or the sea or men, but don't hate an individual person. Who's done you a real injury. Next thing you know he'll be getting into your beer like prussic acid; and blotting out your eyes like a cataract and screaming in your ears like a brain tumour and boiling round your heart like melted lead and ramping though your guts like a cancer. And a nice fool you'd look if he knew. It would make him laugh till his teeth dropped out; from old age.”
“The Professor looked like a Protestant saint when the cannibal offered him the choice of taking six wives or being boiled alive. He wanted to mortify some flesh, but he didn't know which.”
“Everyone has his price. It's just a case of making an offer that pleases him but doesn't hurt you too much. - Dad”
“I shall have my lasso, I shall lead the course;
I recognize it’s time to mount a different horse.”
“My life has been one big audition.”
“It's strange how different we all appear to who we really are.”
“A creature is what it is, even if it can't show its true face.”
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